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Former NDP candidate Cressy running for seat on Toronto council

Former federal NDP candidate Joe Cressy speaks in Toronto on July 30, 2014, as he announces his candidacy for a city council seat in Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina).


Putting to bed rumours that have swirled for weeks, former federal NDP candidate Joe Cressy has registered to run for a seat on Toronto City Council.

Mr. Cressy announced Wednesday he will be running in Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina), an area that is overlapped by the federal riding where he made made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in parliament as an NDP candidate this spring during a by-election. He lost to Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, who left his seat as city councillor in Ward 20 to run federally.

Running for council wasn't his fallback plan, Mr. Cressy said, but a choice he made after seeing there was a space to be filled from Mr. Vaughan's absence.

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"Politics is fickle. I had announced I was running in an election and a couple of weeks later, a very well-known and popular city councillor and friend of mine, Adam Vaughan, announced he was running," Mr. Cressy said.

"I was out knocking on doors in a by-election and people would say to me, 'Joe, this is great. Adam Vaughan's going to be our MP and you can be our councillor.' [...] I listened to them very carefully. I've been speaking to them about our vision, what we can do together and I hope to represent them at City Hall."

Olivia Chow, a former MP and current Toronto mayoral candidate, left her federal seat earlier this year to run in the municipal election. Mr. Cressy worked on her campaign before running in the by-election to replace her. On Wednesday, Mr. Cressy made his political ties clear saying no one should be "the least bit surprised" he is a card-carrying member of the NDP and saying his hope would be for Ms. Chow to win.

"I hope she wins but, frankly, I just want to make sure that Rob Ford isn't there," he said, but added he would work with politicians of all stripes, pointing to a list of endorsements from various politicians and community leaders.

Though he didn't come out on top in the federal race, he scooped up 34.1 per cent of the votes in the riding. But he faces a lot of competition, with 24 other candidates already registered to run in the ward.

"It's great. The Ward 20 race has drawn a lot of candidates," said Mr. Vaughan. "The ward has always chosen someone who represents the ward. It doesn't represent a political party. It doesn't represent an issue. It's a good healthy race and the residents can choose who best represents their interests."

Mr. Cressy, 30, is a social activist and the son of two former Toronto city councillors: Gordon Cressy and Joanne Campbell. He worked as a senior adviser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, but resigned his position in order to jump into the race. He grew up in Ward 20 and lives there with his wife, Nina.

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